Friday, May 11, 2012

Islands Project: Days 1 to 3 - A Photographic Diary

We flew into Miami, and met the Lily Rose and her crew at the MiaMarina docks after a huge Argentinian feast following a nine hour air-journey from Denver Colorado.  We are traveling up through the barrier islands of the US coastal states of Florida and Georgia, following scientists who are working at the forefront of global climate change. 

These coastal islands are the American front line in the world of rising sea levels, and we are here to find out if these changes are already happening and whether this low-lying state is at risk.  We are also here to celebrate some amazing conservation triumphs and some interesting challenges that are only now coming to light.

The Fort Lauderdale Beachfront.  Called the Miracle Mile...for no reason we could discern.

The Sailing ship Lily Rose underway, moving north from Miami to Ft Lauderdale.

One of s series of rather large bridges that must be raised for us to pass through. There may be as many as 20.  It seems at odds with our little sailing ship to be able to hold up bridges and even cars, but it is nevertheless the case.

Miami on our first night.  This huge city's water supply is at risk from rising sea levels.

The Fort Lauderdale area, Los Olas Marina at sunset.

We are sailing today and over the weekend from Del Rey, up through the Intra-coastal Waterway towards Fort Pierce, where we will meet with researchers from the Harbour Branch of Florida Atlantic University. 

Our sailing boat is the 40ft Lily Rose, an Island Packet single-hull sailing ship in the prime of her life.  She is ready for the deep sea, but on this journey we will be staying mostly in the protected waterways of Florida and Georgia, seeking out islands and researchers who can tell us more about how our planet is changing. 

This is the first journey of many where we will be visiting the most exposed places in the world to Climate Change, and we hope to share what we find in photos, stories and films that we are producing as we sail.  Our team consists of Captain Larry Moser, Bob Whitehead, researcher Mira Dutschke, myself and the indomitable Frances Tisdel, chief Cook and Admiral.

The Intracoastal Waterway is mostly man-made, but utilizes may natural features.  There is not much nature in this area here, but as we move northwards, a vast array of parks and protected marine areas will hopefully open up for us.

As you can see from the pictures we have been cruising up through heavily industrialized areas, with lots of different boat traffic and huge bridges that have to be raised for us to pass under.  We are hoping to get up into some conservation areas tonight and spend the night far from lights, under the stars of the Florida spring in a little anchorage surrounded by (dare we hope?!) the Florida Manatee.

The Lily Rose at rest right now, and the lower photo...last night from the same location:  The Del Ray Yacht Club

The Lily Rose, at rest last night on the Intracoastal Waterway.

No matter where we go, we are always followed by this strange, evil looking animal.  We think this may have something to do with climate change, but we are not sure.  I think we will sail as much as possible and try to get away from it...

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